Wednesday, August 24, 2016

One Final Thought on the 2016 Hugos

Nnedi Okorafor, PhD ‏@NnediI wish the media would discuss the stories we wrote more than the grumblings of&responses to a certain group of ppl I won't name.#HugoAwards
I've often pondered the relative staying strength of the Puppies vs. the Puppy Kickers. Both groups are, after all, sworn to eternal war.

But then, the Eternal War is the Culture War. Blood Oaths about the Hugos in particular vary from person to person. While it is hard to imagine either group willingly giving ground on the greater Culture War, particular battlefields wax and wane.

Regardless of who you think is currently 'winning the Hugos,' comments like the above make me wonder about battle exhaustion. Ms. Okorafor is a Hugo winner, not a Hugo loser, and yet she is unsatisfied.

In 4th Generation Warfare theory, an extended conflict favors the insurgents. I wonder whose bottom line is spanked hardest by the controversy?

Apparently, it is not enough to win Hugos, one must also win the media war. Apparently, getting the most press is how you win the media war.

If the Kickers want to win under these conditions, they need the media to clamp down on the story as much as possible. When authors start treating awards as secondary to press coverage, the value of the awards decreases.

Now obviously we do not want to read too much into a single tweet. But comments like this are something to watch out for, on both sides. In a war without bullets, each group's perception of victory is one of the most important victory conditions. Look for the exhaustion tell.

Bonus points to anyone who can find some exhaustion tells from Puppies.


  1. It's been good to follow your take on the Hugo situation in recent years.

    Here's my own view - I think a lot of the Kickers were worried that Tingle was the ultimate stealth candidate and was secretly one of Vox Day's Vile Faceless Minions, or possible even Vox Day himself. The Kickers just weren't willing to take that risk, so Tingle didn't win.

    I also wonder if the Kickers made a mistake in focusing on the supposed evils of slate-voting back in 2015. This might have helped them a little in 2015, but it also arguably prevented them from mounting a better defense of this year's Hugos. Counter-slates could have headed off Puppy Domination in the nominations for this year.

    I really wonder if the Kickers would have been better off just admitting that yes, they *do* apply political litmus tests to what they nominate/vote for. Deep down, everybody knows it, everybody sees it. They could even justify it with something like "Sci-Fi has always focused on societal and technological progress, about what is possible for humanity if we keep moving forward. And for that reason we believe Hugos should be rewarded to truly progressive thinkers". Then, on that basis, maybe throw a bone to the most progressive of the Puppy nominees, rather than No Awarding the likes of Jim Butcher.

    If the Kickers had did this, the Hugos would probably be in a better position right now.

    1. Regardless of fear of a Manchurian Candidate (Pounded in My Brain Butt by Political Hypnosis), the stated position ("we love Chuck and are okay with him winning!") does not align with the action (apparently - I don't have access to the ballots).

      I agree that being straightforward would have been advantageous - if they had started in that position. I also see that it was not possible.

      Kickers believe that "progressive Sci-Fi" is synonymous with "good Sci-Fi," for the reasons you listed. The issue is two-fold:

      1). True Believers cannot admit these are distinct categories. The mental dissonance is simply too much.

      2). Calculated Believers realize that admitting these are distinct categories hands victory to the Puppies. It legitimizes the claim that Hugos are (sometimes) awarded on politics and not merit. It is much more tactically useful to paint Puppies as raccist.

      Thanks for your support!

  2. Anthony, if they were smart enough to think strategically in that way, they wouldn't be SJWs.

  3. Any comment on the first Dragon Awards?

  4. Don't know if you're interested, but we'd be glad to have you:

    The first discussion is planned to open this coming Monday on chapters 1-3.